Thursday 07 March 2024

Bible Book:

'This is the temple of the Lord...' For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will dwell with you in this place. (vs 4-7)

Jeremiah 7:1-11 Thursday 7 March 2024

Psalm 104:1-23


Jeremiah was to stand at the gate of the Temple meeting worshippers with God's words "Amend your ways and your doings and let me dwell with you in this place." (v. 3)

Today it is the welcomers and sometimes the minister who stand at the entrance of churches to greet people as they come to worship. Their words are very different from those of Jeremiah. Times have changed. Compare Jeremiah's words with the welcome people get (or used to get) at Coventry Cathedral: "We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, straight, gay, questioning, well heeled or down at heel.  We especially welcome wailing babies and excited toddlers… "

A number of churches have adapted the Coventry Welcome for their own use and most of us are happy to sing "Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live… All are welcome in this place' (StF 409). 

Jeremiah was arguing against the people who had a superstitious faith in the Temple. A belief had grown up that the Temple was inviolable; no enemy could ever destroy it. Persistent sinners could come to the Temple and feel safe and then carry on with their wicked lives. Jesus quoted v. 11 of today's passage "a den of robbers" when he cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:13).

This prophecy nearly cost Jeremiah his life. Priests and prophets regarded his words as blasphemy, and claimed that Jeremiah should be put to death. Jeremiah pointed out that he was a prophet and explained what he was doing. The name of God still counted for something among the rulers and people. The court was impressed by his argument and ordered him to be released (Jeremiah 26).


To Ponder:

  • What suggestions would you give to the welcomers of a church or other place of worship to help newcomers feel at home?
  • What other ways can you think of to attract people to visit your church?


God of the friendless, may I offer a positive welcome to all who come to my church, my home and my place of work. Amen.

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